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Jiwen Fan, Yuan Wang, Daniel Rosenfeld, and Xiaohong Liu

Abstract

Over the past decade, the number of studies that investigate aerosol–cloud interactions has increased considerably. Although tremendous progress has been made to improve the understanding of basic physical mechanisms of aerosol–cloud interactions and reduce their uncertainties in climate forcing, there is still poor understanding of 1) some of the mechanisms that interact with each other over multiple spatial and temporal scales, 2) the feedbacks between microphysical and dynamical processes and between local-scale processes and large-scale circulations, and 3) the significance of cloud–aerosol interactions on weather systems as well as regional and global climate. This review focuses on recent theoretical studies and important mechanisms on aerosol–cloud interactions and discusses the significances of aerosol impacts on radiative forcing and precipitation extremes associated with different cloud systems. The authors summarize the main obstacles preventing the science from making a leap—for example, the lack of concurrent profile measurements of cloud dynamics, microphysics, and aerosols over a wide region on the observation side and the large variability of cloud microphysics parameterizations resulting in a large spread of modeling results on the modeling side. Therefore, large efforts are needed to escalate understanding. Future directions should focus on obtaining concurrent measurements of aerosol properties and cloud microphysical and dynamic properties over a range of temporal and spatial scales collected over typical climate regimes and closure studies, as well as improving understanding and parameterizations of cloud microphysics such as ice nucleation, mixed-phase properties, and hydrometeor size and fall speed.

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C. Lu, H. Yuan, E. I. Tollerud, and N. Wang

Abstract

Global precipitation forecasts from numerical weather prediction (NWP) models can be verified using the near-global coverage of satellite precipitation retrievals. However, inaccuracies in satellite precipitation analyses complicate the interpretation of forecast errors that result from verification of an NWP model against satellite observations. In this study, assessments of both a global quantitative precipitation estimate (QPE) from a satellite precipitation product and corresponding global quantitative precipitation forecast (QPF) from a global NWP model are conducted using available global land-based gauge data. A scale decomposition technique is devised, coupled with seasonal and spatial classifications, to evaluate these inaccuracies. The results are then analyzed in context with various physical precipitation systems, including heavy monsoonal rains, light Mediterranean winter rains, and North American convective-related and midlatitude cyclone–related precipitation.

In general, global model results tend to consistently overforecast rainfall, whereas satellite measurements present a mixed pattern, underestimating many large-scale precipitation systems while overestimating many convective-scale precipitation systems. Both global model QPF and satellite-retrieved QPE showed better correlation scores in large-scale precipitation systems when verified with gauge measurements. In this case, model-based QPF tends to outperform satellite-retrieved QPE. At convective scales, there are significant drops in both model QPF and satellite QPE correlation scores, but satellite QPE performs slightly better than model QPF. These general results also showed regional and seasonal variation. For example, in tropical monsoon systems, satellite QPE tended to outperform model-based QPF at both scales. Overall, the results suggest potential improvements for both satellite estimates and weather forecast systems, in particular as applied to global precipitation forecasts.

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Xin Xu, Jinjie Song, Yuan Wang, and Ming Xue

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This work examines the influence of horizontal propagation of three-dimensional (3D) mountain waves on the wave momentum flux (WMF) within finite domains (e.g., the grid cell of general circulation models). Under the Wentzel–Kramers–Brillouin (WKB) approximation, analytical solutions are derived for hydrostatic nonrotating mountain waves using the Gaussian beam approximation (GBA), which incorporates both the wind vertical curvature effect and the height variation of stratification. The GBA solutions are validated against numerical simulations conducted using the Advanced Regional Prediction System (ARPS). In the situation of idealized terrain, wind, and stratification, the WMF obtained from the GBA shows a good agreement with the numerical simulation. The effect of wind curvature in enhancing the WMF is captured, although the WKB-based GBA solution tends to overestimate the WMF, especially at small Richardson numbers of order unity. For realistic terrain and/or atmospheric conditions, there are some biases between the WKB GBA and simulated WMFs, arising from, for example, the missing physics of wave reflection. Nonetheless, the decreasing trend of finite-domain WMF with height, because of the horizontal propagation of 3D mountain waves, can be represented fairly well. Using the GBA, a new scheme is proposed to parameterize the orographic gravity wave drag (OGWD) in numerical models. Comparison with the traditional OGWD parameterization scheme reveals that the GBA-based scheme tends to produce OGWD at higher altitudes, as the horizontal propagation of mountain waves can reduce the wave amplitude and thus inhibit wave breaking.

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Jinfeng Ding, Xiao-Yong Zhuge, Yuan Wang, and Anyuan Xiong

Abstract

Aircraft Meteorological Data Relay (AMDAR) weather reports are a type of high spatiotemporal data currently widely used in weather monitoring and prediction. A recent Chinese AMDAR project began in 2003 has made rapid progress. However, the assessment and accuracy of these Chinese AMDAR reports have yet to be thoroughly discussed. A comparison of temperature and wind observations between Chinese AMDAR reports and rawinsonde data between 2004 and 2010 is conducted in this paper. Results demonstrate that the root-mean-square error (RMSE) between these two sets of data is 1.40°C for temperature, 3.56 m s−1 for wind speed, and 28° for wind direction. Because of the particularity of observation and inversion method, comparison results are not only affected by AMDAR measurement and reporting error but also by spatial and temporal representativeness, flight phases, and the environment. This evaluation helps create a complete estimation of the accuracy of Chinese AMDAR in order to assist with data assimilation.

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Yuan Wang, Lifeng Zhang, Jun Peng, and Saisai Liu

Abstract

A high-resolution cloud-permitting simulation with the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model is performed to investigate the mesoscale horizontal kinetic energy (HKE) spectra of a tropical cyclone (TC). The spectrum displays an arc-like shape in the troposphere and a quasi-linear shape in the lower stratosphere for wavelengths below 500 km during the mature period of the TC, while they both develop a quasi −5/3 slope. The total HKE spectrum is dominated by its rotational component in the troposphere but by its divergent component in the lower stratosphere. Further spectral HKE budget diagnosis reveals a generally downscale cascade of HKE, although a local upscale cascade gradually forms in the lower stratosphere. However, the mesoscale energy spectrum is not only governed by the energy cascade, but is evidently influenced also by other physical processes, among which the buoyancy effect converts available potential energy (APE) to HKE in the mid- and upper troposphere and converts HKE to APE in the lower stratosphere, the vertically propagating inertia–gravity waves transport the HKE from the upper troposphere to lower and higher layers, and the vertical transportation of convection always transports HKE upward.

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Yu-Chieng Liou, Po-Chien Yang, and Wen-Yuan Wang

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A new thermodynamic retrieval scheme is developed by which one can use the wind fields synthesized from multiple-Doppler radars to derive the three-dimensional thermodynamic fields over complex terrain. A cost function consisting of momentum equations and a simplified thermodynamic equation is formulated. By categorizing the analysis domain into flow and terrain regions, the variational technique is applied to minimize this cost function only within the flow region, leading to the solutions for the three-dimensional pressure and temperature perturbations immediately over terrain. Using idealized datasets generated by a numerical model, an experiment is first conducted to assess the accuracy of the proposed algorithm. The retrieval scheme is then applied to a real case that occurred during the 2008 Southwestern Monsoon Experiment (SoWMEX) conducted in Taiwan. The retrieved thermodynamic fields, verified by radiosonde data, reveal the structure of a prefrontal squall line as it approaches a mountain. The retrieved three-dimensional high-resolution pressure and temperature along with the wind fields not only allow us to better understand the thermodynamic and kinematic structure of a heavy rainfall system, but can also be assimilated into a numerical model to improve the forecast.

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Kai-Yuan Cheng, Pao K. Wang, and Tempei Hashino

Abstract

The fall attitudes and the flow fields of falling hexagonal ice plates are studied by numerically solving the transient incompressible Navier–Stokes equation for flow past ice plates and the body dynamics equations representing the 6-degrees-of-freedom motion that determine the position and orientation of the ice plates in response to the hydrodynamic force of the flow fields. The ice plates investigated are from 1 to 10 mm in diameter, and the corresponding Reynolds number ranges from 46 to 974. The results indicate that the 1-mm plate generates a steady flow field and exhibits a steady motion, whereas the rest of the ice plates generate unsteady flow fields and exhibit unsteady motions, including horizontal translation, rotation, and axial oscillation. The horizontal translation is primarily determined by the inclination due to oscillation. The pressure distributions around the falling plates are examined and discussed in association with the oscillation. The vortex structure in the wake of the plate is examined. Empirical formulas for fall speed, oscillation frequency, and drag coefficient are given. Potential impacts of the fall attitudes and flow characteristics on the microphysics of ice plates are discussed.

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Lei Wang, Xiaojun Yuan, Mingfang Ting, and Cuihua Li

Abstract

Recent Arctic sea ice changes have important societal and economic impacts and may lead to adverse effects on the Arctic ecosystem, weather, and climate. Understanding the predictability of Arctic sea ice melting is thus an important task. A vector autoregressive (VAR) model is evaluated for predicting the summertime (May–September) daily Arctic sea ice concentration on the intraseasonal time scale, using only the daily sea ice data and without direct information of the atmosphere and ocean. The intraseasonal forecast skill of Arctic sea ice is assessed using the 1979–2012 satellite data. The cross-validated forecast skill of the VAR model is found to be superior to both the anomaly persistence and damped anomaly persistence at lead times of ~20–60 days, especially over northern Eurasian marginal seas and the Beaufort Sea. The daily forecast of ice concentration also leads to predictions of ice-free dates and September mean sea ice extent. In addition to capturing the general seasonal melt of sea ice, the model is also able to capture the interannual variability of the melting, from partial melt of the marginal sea ice in the beginning of the period to almost a complete melt in the later years. While the detailed mechanism leading to the high predictability of intraseasonal sea ice concentration needs to be further examined, the study reveals for the first time that Arctic sea ice can be predicted statistically with reasonable skill at the intraseasonal time scales given the small signal-to-noise ratio of daily data.

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Ya Yang, Xiang Li, Jing Wang, and Dongliang Yuan

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The North Equatorial Subsurface Current (NESC) is a subthermocline ocean current uncovered recently in the tropical Pacific Ocean, flowing westward below the North Equatorial Countercurrent. In this study, the dynamics of the seasonal cycle of this current are studied using historical shipboard acoustic Doppler current profiler measurements and Argo absolute geostrophic currents. Both data show a westward current at the depths of 200–1000 m between 4° and 6°N, with a typical core speed of about 5 and 2 cm s−1, respectively. The subsurface current originates in the eastern Pacific, with its core descending to deeper isopycnal surfaces and moving to the equator as it flows westward. The zonal velocity of the NESC shows pronounced seasonal variability, with the annual-cycle harmonics of vertical isothermal displacement and zonal velocity presenting characters of vertically propagating baroclinic Rossby waves. A simple analytical Rossby wave model is employed to simulate the propagation of the seasonal variations of the westward zonal currents successfully, which is the basis for exploring the wind forcing dynamics. The results suggest that the wind curl forcing in the central-eastern basin between 170° and 140°W associated with the meridional movement of the intertropical convergence zone dominates the NESC seasonal variability in the western Pacific, with the winds west of 170°W and east of 140°W playing a minor role in the forcing.

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Bingrong Sun, Shengpeng Wang, Man Yuan, Hong Wang, Zhao Jing, Zhaohui Chen, and Lixin Wu

Abstract

Near-inertial internal waves (NIWs) are thought to play an important role in powering the turbulent diapycnal mixing in the ocean interior. Nevertheless, the energy flux into NIWs below the surface boundary layer (SBL) in the global ocean is still poorly understood. This key problem is addressed in this study based on a Community Earth System Model (CESM) simulation with a horizontal resolution of ~0.1° for its oceanic component and ~0.25° for its atmospheric component.

The CESM shows good skill in simulating NIWs globally, reproducing the observed magnitude and spatial pattern of surface NIW currents and wind power on NIWs (WI). The simulated downward flux of NIW energy (FSBL) at the SBL base is positive everywhere. Its quasi-global integral (excluding the region within 5°S-5°N) is 0.13 TW, about one-third the value of WI. The ratio of local FSBL to WI varies substantially over the space. It exhibits an increasing trend with the enstrophy of balanced motions (BMs) and a decreasing trend with WI.

The kinetic energy transfer from model-resolved BMs to NIWs is positive from the SBL base to 600 m but becomes negative further downwards. The quasi-global integral of energy transfer below the SBL base is two orders of magnitude smaller than that of FSBL, suggesting the resolved BMs in the CESM simulations making negligible contributions to power NIWs in the ocean interior.

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